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About Those Resolutions

I'm writing this on Sunday night. I've just put Veronica to sleep and I'm sitting next to the fireplace. It's like 10 degrees outside. The house is quiet. Greg sits behind me at his desk, writing, wearing headphones.

It's the second day of the new year.

I made a simple Sunday supper, we opened a nice bottle of wine and all three of us ate around the coffee table, so that we could be near the fireplace.

I have a lot of thoughts about this last year. And a lot of thoughts about the year to come.

For instance, as I write this I procrastinate here and there by taking a few minutes to troll through craig's list Los Angeles, looking at apartments. We are moving in 5 months and all of a sudden it's all we can talk about, all I can think about.

On new year's day I woke up in the morning thinking about how I will be waking up somewhere completely different one year from now. I thought about the friends I will have celebrated with the night before, and what the air and the light will be like in the bedroom of some California bungalow house we are living in next new year's day.

I feel like I am going home.

But I suppose all of this is a little contradictory to the resolution I am finally getting around to discussing. Which is this: I want to revel in the good moments more. Instead of focusing on what's happening next, I want to enjoy NOW.

I'm not talking about just being present. I jabber on about that enough. It feels like all I do is try to be present. What I realized I don't do enough is revel. I don't soak myself in the moment long enough. I don't splash around or set up camp. I never lounge. I merely take notice of what's happening, make sure I think I'm being present, and then it's off to the next big thing.

The next big thing. There's always going to be a next big thing, isn't there?

The minute Greg and I got engaged, I started stressing about the wedding. Two months after we got married I started thinking about getting pregnant. Right after getting pregnant I started obsessing about the birth. And don't even get me started on my writing. The moment I accomplish one level — a column on The Huffington Post, a book proposal complete, an agent, I'm plowing ahead to the next step.

I don't revel enough. I want to enjoy these quiet, and not-so-quiet, victories more thoroughly. I want to remember that there is always going to be something else to strive for, but that there won't always be this moment.

I will never again be 32 years old, on a Sunday night in Chicago, sitting beside a fireplace, anticipating the first week of a new year. It's not enough to just be present anymore. Not for me anyway.


Me and Veronica on the last day of 2010.


  1. I really like the idea of not just being present, but enjoying being present. I need to work on this too. Happy new year!

    Comment by Tanya on January 3, 2011 at 9:27 am

  2. I love this photo! And your resolution.

    Comment by Keli on January 3, 2011 at 9:33 am

  3. Good resolution, Claire! Mine is to do something nice for someone else every week.

    Comment by Joanne on January 3, 2011 at 9:46 am

  4. Oh I like this. Mine is to be a better friend. It’s something I’ve really slacked on since becoming a mom and I want to be better.

    Comment by Kathy on January 3, 2011 at 10:33 am

  5. Thanks for writing about this. I think you’re right that a lot of people talk about being present without delving into the larger issue at hand. Not just being present, but truly immersing oneself in the moment.

    Comment by Lindsay F. on January 3, 2011 at 12:07 pm

  6. You know, its something that I didnt really think about for a while. I think I thought that I was doing enough by just being aware that the moment existed. Then I finally realized that wasnt enough, that I needed to deepen my involvement with the moment to really get something out of it.

    Comment by Claire Bidwell Smith on January 3, 2011 at 12:33 pm

  7. Ugh, I hear you! I cant tell you how much I wish I had more time to make phone calls and visits to all my friends. Being a mom really takes a hit on that. Good resolution. Good luck!

    Comment by Claire Bidwell Smith on January 3, 2011 at 12:34 pm

  8. Oh, I really like that. I may make that an unofficial resolution of mine too!

    Comment by Claire Bidwell Smith on January 3, 2011 at 12:35 pm

  9. Thanks! I like this photo a lot too. Notice how were both in step with each other!

    Comment by Claire Bidwell Smith on January 3, 2011 at 12:35 pm

  10. I dont think its easy for any of us, but I do think we could all benefit from trying! Good luck! And happy new year to you too!

    Comment by Claire Bidwell Smith on January 3, 2011 at 12:36 pm

  11. Your Sunday night sounds loveLy.

    Comment by Julie on January 3, 2011 at 1:02 pm

  12. I’m reading the stories of preacher/ teacher Fred Craddock, and he talks about the small town custom of going for a walk after dinner, called marveling. To step outside and find something to marvel at. Been thinking about it all day!!

    Comment by Sarah on January 3, 2011 at 8:10 pm

  13. Marveling — I really, really love that. Thanks, Sarah!

    Comment by Claire Bidwell Smith on January 4, 2011 at 1:03 pm

  14. Thank you! It was!

    Comment by Claire Bidwell Smith on January 4, 2011 at 1:07 pm

  15. My Greg says I live from holiday to holiday. As soon as one is finished or even before it is finished I am planning the next one. So this year I also want to just focus on being fully bathed in the experience that I am in. Thanks for the inspiration – I like Sarah’s ides of Marvelling think I will try it out tonight in the balmy Sydney air.

    Comment by Tanya on January 5, 2011 at 2:00 am

  16. Those Gregs. They have some good insight sometimes, no? I like your resolution a lot! And Im jealous of your marveling — seeing as how its TEN degrees in Chicago I wont be going outside for much marveling any time soon.

    Comment by Claire Bidwell Smith on January 5, 2011 at 12:06 pm

  17. It’s hard, isn’t it? I tried hard to just be present in the moment in December, and managed it, but came away not sure how I felt about some of those moments (I had a strange December). Maybe revelling in the moment is the trick. Subtle distinction, really!
    As usual, your post is a really timely reminder. Thanks :)

    Comment by Sophie on January 6, 2011 at 7:14 pm

  18. Hmmm….it really is hard. And youre right, sometimes its strange!! We all need good reminders of this.

    Comment by Claire Bidwell Smith on January 8, 2011 at 9:55 am

  19. I read you entry and a bell went off in my own head. I feel the same, but I think perhaps you are a few steps ahead. I am still trying to master the “present.” It is actually only Abby who is able to make me stay in the present and not jump to the next moment. I treasure her for this – for her ability to help me enjoy each moment infinitely more. I heard someone say that ever since their child was born they just like the world more….I feel the same. How lucky we are to have our little girls and the chance to “revel” in the moment just a little more than we used to. I look forward (see, out of the moment again – lol) to taking a walk along the beach with our girls together next year.

    Comment by Pia on January 13, 2011 at 7:32 pm

  20. Oh, I cant wait for that walk!! And yes, I do like the world more now that I have my sweet girl. Maybe its just that I dont have time to think otherwise?! :)

    Comment by Claire Bidwell Smith on January 13, 2011 at 8:10 pm

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